How to Protect Your Landscaping from Heavy Rain

Heavy rain in a neighborhood

You put a lot of time and careful thought into your landscaping design. You trim, you weed, you work in the sun and the cold to get everything looking perfect. That’s why it’s so distressing when heavy rain comes along and destroys all that hard work in mere moments. Don’t end up cleaning up a big mess later when you can start protecting your landscaping from heavy rain right now and keep your yard safe before bad weather hits.

Redirect Water

Heavy rain itself may not damage your plants, but it can create another issue that will. Flooding in your landscaped areas can create lots of problems for your plants and lawn. To prevent flooding, dig a swale. This is a shallow soil depression designed to catch water and direct it elsewhere. Think of it as a mini-trench. Dig one end of the swale to catch water from the downspout. Rainwater from the downspout can flood landscaped areas quickly, depending on where the water goes. If water fills the ditch too quickly, add some pebbles to the bottom. Dig the ditch so that it will end somewhere out in your lawn where a little extra water won't do any damage or cause flooding.

A swale full of rain water

If you don’t like the appearance of the swale, place a piece of perforated pipe in the ditch and then cover it with soil. This will still give you a drainage ditch to protect your landscaping, but it won’t have any visual impact.

Improve the Soil

Keep landscaped areas from becoming too waterlogged by improving the soil. Dig up about two inches of soil and add a layer of gravel, then cover this layer with a layer of topsoil. Adding layers of gravel to your landscaped areas will improve the drainage and prevent the water from pooling up. Good drainage goes a long, long way toward keeping your landscaping safe from heavy rains.

You should also add some extra topsoil around the base of decorative trees and other plants. A little mound of soil will add a little extra foundation around the plant, which prevents it from being uprooted during a storm.

Use Cloches

Lettuce under plastic cloche

When heavy rains threaten to strike, professional home and garden centers and farmers use cloches. These are transparent domes that cover plants and protect them from the elements. You don't need to purchase actual cloches if you haven't got a huge budget for your lawn and garden. A plastic bucket or even a milk jug will do just as nicely.

You don't want to place anything too opaque over your plants for too long because this will block sunlight, but it will work perfectly while you wait out a passing storm. Keeping a plant away from sunlight for a few hours, even up to a day, shouldn’t cause any lasting damage.

When all else fails, you can always use a tarp to cover your landscaped areasor at least, the most sensitive plants in these areas. Use a tarp to wrap an entire tree, if needed, when bad weather is on its way. Keep tarps in place with rope and wooden stakes.

Add Stakes

If you're worried about high winds that may damage or uproot plants, bury stakes in the ground about 3 inches deep and tie your plants to these stakes. This will help keep them rooted in the face of high winds and heavy rain. Giving plants an anchor will help them withstand the ravages of the storm.

Landscaping and Heavy Rain

Don’t let heavy rains come along and destroy your pretty landscaped areas. Take the steps to keep your landscaping safer against the weather, and try to design a plan that will stand up to heavy rains to save yourself a lot of headaches. When your yard can weather the storm, you’ll have a piece of property that everyone else in the neighborhood envies.